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California Law Confirms E-Verify is Voluntary for Private Employers

Lexology (12/15/11) Exner IV, John E.

On Oct. 9, 2011, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Employment Acceleration Act of 2011, confirming that neither the state nor any city, county, city and county, or special district in California may require private employers to use E-Verify as a condition to receiving a government contract or applying for a business license or as a penalty for violating licensing or similar laws.

The new law means the patchwork of previously enacted local ordinances in the state mandating the use of E-Verify for certain private employers will be defunct. The law will have no effect on existing federal laws that require the use of E-Verify as a condition to participating in federal contracts or receiving federal funds. California private employers should take note that the use of E-Verify is still voluntary, and employers are free to choose to participate in the program. The law has no effect on an employer’s responsibility to prepare and maintain I-9 records.